Dressage Demo Diva

The Gray Wonder


I attempt to drum up excitement about dressage.
Photo by Courtney Huguley

On one hand, a horse and rider who needed to practice the Intro C dressage test in a ring. On the other hand, a group of home-schoolers coming to Stepping Stone Farm for their weekly lessons. Result, a dressage demonstration for the kids.

How To Give A Demo When You Don’t Know Dressage
I rode the test first, narrating as I went. Even with printed copies of the test and letters on the fenceline ‘Circle at B’ didn’t mean much to them. Then we had a talk about how Milton looked. Fast? Slow? Happy? Cranky? How about the rider? Elegant? Waving her hands like a mad orchestra conductor? I was trying to make the point that they already knew more about “dressage” than they thought.

Then I rode the test again, giving them a chance to observe what we did well and what needed work. The kids were very polite and reluctant to say anything critical. One finally loosen up enough to opine that my canter transition was less than prompt. 100% correct. I also said that what they saw constituted a big improvement for us. Judges, like them, couldn’t know that. A judge can only score what they see on the day.

Coach Courtney pointed out that the same thing happens in their riding. The person in center ring has no idea how hard a rider has worked to get to the show, or what struggles they may or may not have overcome. The judges has to go with what is in front of them.

Between a rehearsal run and the demo, Milton did 6 canter half circles. Mission accomplished.

How To Turn a Saddlebred Ring Into A Dressage Arena, Using Driving Cones And Jump Standards

Cones and standards in the corners. Homemade letters on the fence [Driven Dressage]. The measurements were approximate, but then so is my dressage.

Bathed horse with special gray horse shampoos (plural). Cleaned tack. Polished boots. I can’t ride my way out of Training Intro Level. I can put on a good show.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

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